Growing the community from the ground up

The Western Australian community of Kelmscott is a quiet, albeit close-knit one. Lined with trees in an open and welcoming landscape, Kelmscott is a beautiful place to live, work and raise a family.

The Kelmscott Community Garden began with one woman’s dream to create “a space where everybody feels welcome – a space where people can learn, and where the community can come together”. Jo Harris founded the garden with intentions to fill all of these objectives and more. After building up a small team and beginning to landscape the humble patch, her understanding of water scarcity in WA and the need to build an environmentally responsible space prompted her to reach out to local reticulation specialist, and old family friend, David Thomas.

He was only too glad to assist.

David received an email from Reece about the community project grant just two days after Jo brought him on board to help. Being an active participant in the local community, he saw the potential for how much the grant could impact the garden.

“We applied for it and somehow managed to get it,” he laughs. “We are very grateful for that. It’s given us the money to get these tanks that we would probably have struggled to get otherwise.”

David and his team were able to install rainwater tanks, irrigation and a sensor-activated WeatherMatic controller, which ensures the garden is only given water when required. The grant has helped put the garden and its volunteers ahead by 2 to 3 years, David speculates, and he is planning to run workshops on irrigation installation for the volunteers involved. The aim is to equip them with the skills to establish the garden beds as the project grows.

“But I’ll always be on call if they need me to do anything,” David adds, “and I’ll always be here to monitor and service that reticulation and make sure that’s going as it should.”

David also hopes to get the local schools in the area involved, with the children each having their own plot. His hope is to teach them about gardening and all the water saving techniques they are currently using in the area.

“Hopefully I will be involved in the garden as long as it is running, because I am a local member of the community and I live very close,” David says. It is nice to have something to give back to the community, and to try and keep a bit of the community involved in the area.”

Learn more about the Kelmscott Community garden and stay up to date with their progress by visiting their Facebook page.